In which I dream of Berlin
10 Must Sees in Berlin
Since my jaunts in China and now New Zealand, you’ll find me discussing places that I’d like to go to in Europe, as well as reminiscing about places that I’ve already been to and would like to go back to. I also love looking at all the hotels I could possibly visit at Venere.
Today, this is Berlin.
I went when I was living in Germany on my Year Abroad and maybe because of this, I found it a much more interesting and friendlier place than Paris that I’d visited the year before, with the same companion. Maybe it was because of my vague grasp of the language that made Berlin so magical for me, maybe it was the attractions that we visited, but it was a great week. Here are 10 recommendations for any visit to Berlin.
1. The TV Tower – I’m a big lover of getting to the top of the tallest building in any city and the Berlin TV Tower is no exception. It’s a striking part of the Berlin skyline and offers great views from the top. If you’re feeling special, book a table at the revolving restaurant at the top too, for authentic German cuisine in a relaxed setting with a great view.
2. Berlin Zoo – I am a massive zoo fan. I cannot visit a city with a zoo without visiting the zoo itself. Berlin Zoological Garden is very well laid out and was home to the famous polar bear, Knut, who died in 2011, after famously being the first polar bear to survive infancy at Berlin Zoo in over 30 years.
3. The Reichstag – no trip is complete without a visit to the German Parliament building. They have created a fantastic glass dome where the city can be viewed, whilst also viewing the parliamentary seats. Although it’s not possible to visit whilst parliament is in session, the visit is free and open most of the day. They have a booking system which you can use to book your visit up to 2 days in advance.
4. Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) – Synonymous with any postcard of Berlin, you have to get an obligatory shot standing in front of it. First construction started in 1788 and was finished 3 years later and during separated Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate was inaccessible to either side. The gate was restored in early 2000s and continues today to be one of the most famous landmarks of unity and peace in Europe.
5. The Holocaust Memorial – The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a striking memorial, just around the corner from the Brandenburg Gate. 2,711 dark concrete slabs are arranged in grid formation with various heights on a sloped area. You can walk in between all the slabs, which gives almost a sense of disorientation. There is also a Place of Information underneath the memorial, with the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.
6. DDR Museum – With so much modern history surrounding Germany and Berlin, the DDR is an interesting museum dedicated to the more little known facts about everyday life before the fall of the Berlin Wall. There are many artifacts in the museum, including the famous Trabi car, which became synonymous with the DDR.
7. Museum Island – Home to five world-renowned museums in Berlin, including the Pergamon, Bode, Neues, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum, the area is classed as UNESCO World Heritage and set in the middle of the Spree river.
8. Ampelmann Shop (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 5, 10178 Berlin) – When in Berlin, you’ll notice that the green men at the pedestrian lights are different to ones that you’ll see at home. These are locally known as “Ampelmännchen” and are a Berlin icon. It’s definitely worth getting a souvenir, or at least, having your picture taken with the giant one outside!
9. Checkpoint Charlie – One of the most historical sites of Berlin, you can stand on the divide between the old East and West Berlin. There is a small museum here describing the history of the checkpoint as the “best border security system in the world,” as well as an open-air exhibit informing of escape attempts and expansion.
10. The Berlin Wall – There are pieces of the wall dotted all over the city, with a few longer sections still standing. There is a Berlin Wall Trail you can follow to cover the 160km in sections at your leisure. There are also metal plaques and double cobblestones in some areas of the city showing where the wall used to stand, wherever it is possible.